Despite being panned by most of the major press, Off-Broadway's new drama Retribution won't necessarily follow through on claims in its advertising that the show will close Nov. 7. Production spokesperson Susan Schulman told Playbill On-Line a decision was made last week to close the show at the end of this week (hence its being listed as such in the NY Times ABC Theatre Directory ad). But Retribution's producers didn't post an official closing notice on Monday (Nov. 2), meaning they may try to run the show awhile and see how it does.
"Audiences are responding to it," noted spokesperson Schulman. "It definitely causes debates and discussions about the subject matter."
Dennis Christopher, best known as the boyish lead in the coming-of-age movie, "Breaking Away," portrays a Holocaust refugee unexpectedly interrupting rehearsals for a play-within-a-play. Mark R. Shapiro's world premiere drama, which began previews Oct. 14, is set in 1960s New York, where a young director named Jud Kramer (played by Jack Laufer) is staging a play about the Nazi death camps.
Enter Carl Walkowitz (Christopher), who claims to have known the director at Auschwitz. The secret they share erupts in the drama, described as "a mystery with a vengeance." Michael Unger directs.
Sharing the stage with Laufer and Christopher are Jenna Stern, Walter Hudson, Paul Stolarsky and Stuart Zagnit. Retribution , opened Oct. 24 at Off-Broadway's Lamb's Theatre. The play is based on Daniel Stern's novel "Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die," which was published in 1963.
Christopher's stage credits include Brothers, Breaking the Code and Yentl. He won L.A. Drama-Logue Awards for American Buffalo and Balm in Gilead. His other films include "Chariots of Fire" and "A Wedding."
Shapiro is a former journalist and lobbyist, whose play The Shattering was produced Off-Broadway in 1996.
Laufer's acting credits include the father in the film version of Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers." He has appeared in regional theatres throughout the country and in Manhattan Theatre Club's Bad Habits.
Director Unger has worked at the Mark Taper Forum, the McCarter Theatre and the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Designing Retribution are Narelle Sissons (sets), Christopher J. Landy (lighting), Candice Donnelly (costumes) and David Lynd (sound). Howell Binkley was originally named as lighting designer.
The Lamb's Theatre is at 130 W. 44th St. In New York City. For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.